Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
As good property managers and custodians, we will advocate the optimal use of property, and will protect and maintain it for the present and the future.
We will provide quality, cost effective property services and information valued by our customers and support the Department of the Interior's diverse missions.
OUR VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Excellence in customer service
Creative solutions through partnerships and shared resources
Promotion of best practices and expertise
Adherence to highest professional and ethical standards
Where We Are Now -- Each bureau provides for accountability in the: acquisition, tracking and control, use and disposition of personal, real and museum property in the Department of the Interior. Each bureau provides overall management of all property acquired by or in the custody of the bureau contractors/grantees. The Office of Financial Management, in their FY 1995 Annual Report, stated the value of the Department's current non-stewardship assets at over $25 billion and stewardship assets of more than 65 million museum objects and 23,000 historic structures. Standards for preserving and managing museum property, a heritage asset, have been developed by the Interior Museum Property Committee to correct substantial deficiencies in the care of this property.
There is substantial similarity among the bureaus' high-level property program requirements. Variations among the bureaus' programs are due to:
Different and occasionally competing bureau missions and mandates that lead to differing emphases in property management;
The availability of property management expertise;
Different program processes (e.g., bureau specific forms and automated systems);
Different funding sources for property management; and
Magnitude and diversity of property holdings (e.g., heavy and scientific equipment, buildings, engineering structures, historic structures, and artwork and artifacts).
Program variations have resulted in the bureaus developing and operating duplicative, separate systems that respond to Departmental standards. The bureaus historically have had the funding and resources to support bureau-specific initiatives. However, changing circumstances,including recent legislation, administration initiatives, new technologies, and tighter budgets, in some cases have resulted in Interior's property management community seeking efforts of a multi-bureau nature. For example, recent multi-bureau efforts have led to a reduced numberof Departmental automated personal property management systems.
Why We Need to Change -- The circumstances or factors that lead us to develop and implement a Departmentwide strategic plan for property management are driven by:
Greater demand for accountability and associated reporting requirements;
Material weaknesses that exist or deficiencies that may lead to material weaknesses in several bureau's property management programs;
The Government Performance and Results Act that requires goal-setting and performance measures;
OMB Circular A-127 that requires integrated financial management systems;
The Chief Financial Officers Act that requires quality and timely financial information about the bureaus' operations and financial condition;
The Information Technology Management Reform Act that requires a return on information technology investments; and
The National Performance Review that emphasizes better business practices.
The need to share information;
Continuing staff and funding reductions; and
Greater demand by the public for access to heritage assets.
The Department of the Interior will have the leading property management program in the Federal Government.
Satisfy the Customer
Survey customers to determine what creates satisfaction. The Survey should include:
reutilization procedures for personal and real property; and
Take action on survey results.
Solicit customer feedback - ongoing process.
Provide efficient user access to collections.
Develop a policy on and mechanisms for sharing equipment, space, facilities, and staff.
Identify and implement cross servicing projects and opportunities.
Develop property management programs that cross bureau/agency lines where such programs would achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Investigate the use of existing systems.
Investigate the applicability of the Single Audit Act in the oversight of our museum collections in non-Federal repositories.
Simplify the process for creating inter- and intra-governmental agreements.
Develop People and Expertise for a Competent and Motivated Workforce
Establish training requirements for property management.
Develop, update and maintain common property management training programs for:
property management staff;
program managers; and
Provide an Internet directory of training opportunities.
Create a property management recognition program.
Investigate an integrated administrative functions training program for AdministrativeOfficers.
Integrate and Streamline Business Processes and Practices
Establish a Property Management Partnership.
Establish partnerships with:
information technology management;
Evaluate ways to reduce property management data requests and improve processes.
Find ways to reduce regulations and procedures.
Migrate as quickly as possible to a systems environment that meets Departmental information resources management standards incorporating new technologies that will reduce duplicative data entry and allow for easy and timely access to data.
Our understanding is that a "systems environment" may be a single system ormultiple systems in which information resident on those systems can be shared electronically.
Adapt Best Practices to meet organizational requirements by:
determining benchmarks for Best Practices by surveying other organizations;
making information on Best Practices readily available (e.g. Internet directory); and
establishing Best Practices pilot project(s).
Evaluate building interfaces to share data with:
administrative systems; and
program automated systems.
Assure Proper Protection, Maintenance, Treatment and Use of All Property
Assess current conditions.
Strengthen management of resources.
Increase public access to and use of resources.
LAUNCHING THE STRATEGIC PLAN -- WHAT IS NEEDED
The appropriate bureau assistant/associate directors and the Director, Office of Acquisition and Property Management are asked to:
Approve the Strategic Plan and the Property Management Partnership;